In his work On Paradise Drive, David Brooks examines the world and worldview of those living in the American suburbs. One of the tropes of suburbanites is that we operate from this deep desire to accumulate materialist possessions because we belong to this luxury society. Brooks observes the issue is more complex. He says suburbanites are not materialists for the sake of being materialists, rather we desire to secure our future good life. The way we try to achieve this future happy life is through the accumulation of things. For Katyites, living in the present means working hard and acquiring material things in hopes of securing a better future good life for ourselves and our loved ones.
Now there can be wisdom in the accumulation of things for the future, but there is also a great dark side. The dark side is anything that doesn’t seem to offer aid in our pursuit of this good life in the future gets written off as something not worth our time. More times than often spiritual disciplines of any kind fall into this category. This is especially true when it comes to valuing prayer. Perhaps this is why most suburbanites know how to define prayer, but we struggle with practicing prayer. Why? Because if we are honest prayer seems to play a minor role as we design our lives for future success. That is of course until we encounter a life-halting problem or complication that hinders our future plans. For all of us, Christian or Non-Christian, when our knowledge and effort can’t solve the problem we become open to prayer.
In Mark 9. We are introduced to a father facing a big problem threatening the future plans he has for himself and his family. The problem is so big he can’t solve it on his own, and no one around him can solve it. He is left with one option, prayer. And the question becomes for the father and us, does prayer really work?”